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Aruán Ortiz

Pianist, violist, and composer Aruán Ortiz – born in Santiago de Cuba, and resident of Brooklyn – has been an active figure in the progressive jazz and avant-garde scene in the US for more than 15 years.

Named “one of the most creative and original composers in the world” (Lynn René Bayley, The Art Music Lounge), he has written music for jazz ensembles, orchestras, dance companies, chamber groups, and feature films, incorporating influences from contemporary classical music, Cuban Haitian rhythms, and avant-garde improvisation. Aruán consistently strives to break stylistic musical boundaries.

Since his arrival in the United States, Aruán has played, toured, or recorded with jazz luminaries such as Wadada Leo Smith, Don Byron, Greg Osby, Wallace Roney, Nicole Mitchell, Cameron Brown, Michael Formanek, William Parker, Adam Rudolph, Andrew Cyrille, Henry Grimes, Marshall Allen, Hamiet Bluiett, Oliver Lake, Rufus Reid, Graham Haynes, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Nasheet Waits. He has also collaborated with choreographers José Mateo, Danis Mora, and Milena Zullo; filmmakers Ben Chace, Mariona Lloreta, and Mónica Rovira; poets Abiodun Oyewole from The Last Poets; writer/poet/filmmaker Mtume Gant; DJ Logic and Val Jeanty Inc.; and renowned German writers Angelika Hentschel and Anna Breitenbach.

Aruán has received numerous accolades including the Composer Fellowship Award at Vermont College of Fine Arts (2016); the Doris Duke Impact Award (2014); the Composers Now Creative Residency at Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (2014); the Jerome Foundation Travel & Study Grant (2013); Latin Jazz Corner’s Arranger of the Year (2011) for his contribution on the album, “El Cumbanchero” by flutist Mark Weinstein (Jazzheads, 2011); Fundación Autor, SGAE, and Generalitat de Catalunya study grants (2002); Semifinalist, Jas Hennessy Piano Solo Competition, Montreux, Switzerland (2001); and Best Jazz Interpretation, Festival de Jazz in Vic, Spain (2000).

He also performed on Grammy Award winning singer/bassist Esperanza Spalding’s trio debut album, "Junjo" (Ayva Música, 2006). All About Jazz said, “The trio has…splendid flashes of precision from pianist Aruán Ortiz who is excellent throughout.”

His 2010 album "Alameda" (Fresh Sound New Talent), which combines modern jazz, contemporary classical music, and Afro-Cuban rhythms, received four stars from the UK based magazine Jazzwise and was named one of the top ten jazz CDs of the year. In response to the quartet's second album, "Orbiting" (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2012), DownBeat magazine called Aruán "...one of the most versatile and exciting pianists of his generation." The album also received four stars from Jazzwise Magazine and Jazz Journal in the UK, and was chosen as one of the top ten contemporary jazz albums of 2012 by Something Else! webzine.

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"..one of the most creative pianists of the new generation of Cuban Jazz..." -Jazz News

"...one of the most versatile and exciting pianist of his generations." Downbeat

"an arriving of a major talent". Jazz Times

"A mark of quality on gigs and records" New York Times.

About Aruán Ortiz Quartet: "the calling card of a group of inventive, daring souls who are unbound by musical boundaries and will push them to their limit." The New York City Jazz Record

Primary Instrument



New York City

Willing to teach

Advanced only


Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Molecular Systemic...

Intakt Records


Beyond Other Stories

Origin Records


Code of Being

Intakt Records


Brass And Ivory Tales

Fundacja Sluchaj


Inside Rhythmic Falls

Intakt Records



Intakt Records


Singing Again

From: Beyond Other Stories
By Aruán Ortiz

Lucero Mundo

From: Inside Rhythmic Falls
By Aruán Ortiz

Open & Close/The Sphinx

From: Hidden Voices
By Aruán Ortiz


From: Orbiting
By Aruán Ortiz



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